Richard Ewell was born in Feb 1817 and grew up near Manassas, Va. He secured an appointment to the USMA at West Point in 1836 and graduated with the class of 1840. On graduation, Lt Ewell chooses the Dragoons and is assigned to the 1st US Dragoons. Except for the Mexican War and duties as a recruiting officer, Richard Ewell would spend the better part of the next twenty years on the western frontier.
When his home state of Virginia secedes from the union he resigns his commission and makes his services available to the confederacy. He is given the rank of Lt Colonel but quickly moves up the ranks as a Brigadier General in June '61 and Major General in Jan '62 when he is given command of a division and assigned to the Army of the Valley with Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. With the valley secured in mid 1862, Gen Ewell and Gen Jackson's men moved to Richmond then were sent north around Manassas Junction in the rear of the enemy. This march culminated in the Second Battle of Manassas on 28 August. At Groveton he was wounded in the knee and had his left leg amputated. Ewell recuperated under the care of his first cousin, Lizinka Campbell Brown, whom he eventually married in May 1863. Shortly after informing Gen Lee that he is fit to return to duty, Stonewall Jackson dies and, after reorganizing the Army of Northern Virginia into three Corps, Gen Lee promotes Richard Ewell to LtGen and appoints him successor to Gen Jackson as Commander of the II Corps. He remains Commander of the II Corps until mid 1864 when Gen Ewell's health forced Lee to transfer him from corps command to responsibility for the defense of Richmond.
In 1865, during the retreat toward Appomattox, Ewell commanded a mixed corps of soldiers, sailors and marines. Surrounded and forced to surrender at Sayler's Creek, he was imprisoned and taken to Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. After his release from the Yankee prison, Richard Ewell moved to his wife's plantation in Maury County, Tennessee, where he died of pneumonia on January 25, 1872, just five days after Lizinka succumbed to the same illness. "A truer and nobler spirit never drew sword", proclaimed General Longstreet.
Chris Godart has been interested in the Civil War for about 25 years. His interest in educating others on the conflict between the states brought him to Lee's Lieutenants and because of his resemblance to "Old Baldy," the suggestion was made for Chris to portray Gen Ewell. He is a Technology Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and lives a short drive from Gen Ewell's boyhood home.